TV

‘The Newsroom’ Season 2: Neal Sampat’s Exquisite Cardigan Collection

Dev Patel as Neal Sampat on Season 2 Episode 5 of HBO’s “The Newsroom.”
Photo: HBO

The blow of the end of this second season of The Newsroom is somewhat softened by its uncharacteristically happy ending (and teetering on the brink of the fall TV season *exhaaaaaaales*), but there are just no two ways around it: we’re going to miss Neal Sampat (Dev Patel) and his elegant grandfather cardigan game.

Dev Patel as Neal Sampat on Season 2 Episode 2 of HBO’s “The Newsroom.”
Photo: HBO

Maybe we were too wrapped up in reacquainting ourselves with Aaron Sorkin’s mile-a-minute dialogue in the first season, but this second season, we just couldn’t help admiring the excellent layering job done by ACN’s resident tech whiz kid and feeling like we needed to rethink that frumpy emergency “work cardigan” we leave draped on the backs of our desk chairs. (Oh, COME ON, you all have them!!)

Dev Patel as Neal Sampat on Season 2 Episode 2 of HBO’s “The Newsroom.”
Photo: HBO

Sampat didn’t start the season out with any knitwear (you might remember the low-key but still slightly out of place office-y look he wore to sit-in on that first Occupy Wall Street meeting), and we’ll be honest, we didn’t even notice the sweaters right away. But when we did, we HAD to go back through every episode and get a better, longer look at The Newsroom’s budding style star’s TV wardrobe (sorry, Maggie—the red, DIY almost-Miley wig was, well, not meant for mass appeal, right?).

Dev Patel as Neal Sampat on Season 2 Episode 3 of HBO’s “The Newsroom.”
Photo: HBO

Through the entirety of the second season, Neal very much has a uniform: rumpled-but-not-wrinkled collared shirt, v-neck cardigan in rich neutrals or deep jewel tones, slim pants and when we can see his feet, casual sportswear Asics kicks. It’s kiiiiind of the dream boyfriend outfit, AMIRITE ladies?? Put together but not prettier than me. (LOL! But really…)

Dev Patel as Neal Sampat on Season 2 Episode 4 of HBO’s “The Newsroom.”
Photo: HBO

Since we can never leave a story alone and our research only made us want more information about Sampat’s exquisitely formulaic wardrobe (also, so we can get a leg up on what dudes’ stores we need to be infiltrating for knits this fall), we contacted The Newsroom’s costume designer Hope Hanafin (who, BTW, was also responsible for the styling in 500 Days of Summer) for more deets.

Dev Patel as Neal Sampat on Season 2 Episode 4 of HBO’s “The Newsroom.”
Photo: HBO

“Because The Newsroom is such a language rich show and the set is so kinetic (there are over 200 monitors on the set),” Hanafin shared, “I have chosen to keep the patterns subdued and the style fairly classic.” When it comes to Sampat, the idea is that his wardrobe should reflect his old soul and simultaneous early adopter attitude with an academic/hipster style.

Dev Patel as Neal Sampat on Season 2 Episode 4 of HBO’s “The Newsroom.”
Photo: HBO

“Dev is long and lean and this season we decided to accentuate that with more closely fitted clothes,” Hope added, “A character without a hard edge, soft textures dominate [Neal’s] wardrobe; corduroy, soft shirts (no starch) and sweaters. He most often wears suede shoes and cool socks, although you rarely see them.”

Dev Patel as Neal Sampat on Season 2 Episode 5 of HBO’s “The Newsroom.”
Photo: HBO

On top of silhouette, the color ways for Neal’s clothes and those seriously excellent cardigans are deliberate, as well. “His color palette is just a little off, cranberry and dark green, or olive and lavender,” Hope said, “Nothing that looks like it came right out of a catalogue or off a mannequin or basic ’boy dressing’ brown, beige, navy etc.”

Dev Patel as Neal Sampat on Season 2 Episode 6 of HBO’s “The Newsroom.”
Photo: HBO

But, like, what are those cardis made of? Cashmere? Merino wool? They’re muted but still have a bit of a sheen. And when other color details like stripes on the bicep or across the entire garment are introduced, they’re seamlessly woven in but not printed-looking. “We do our best to dress Neal in clothes his character could afford, so no cashmere or lux labels,” Hanafin told us, “Because it can be hot on set, we favor cotton blends, if possible. Cardigans are now so identifiable with his character that we try to include them as often as possible which means we also look for cardis in a variety of weights, so he can conceivably wear them in early fall or late spring scenes.”

Dev Patel as Neal Sampat on Season 2 Episode 7 of HBO’s “The Newsroom.”
Photo: HBO

Someone with that much experience handling cardigans would surely have some expert advice for picking some of your own, right? Yep. We shamelessly asked Hope for her cardigan shopping tips. “Check out the button holes,” she cautioned, “They often unravel, so see that they are securely in place. Lay the sweater flat on the floor to be sure the front and back are the same length. Sweaters are often worn in less that sunny weather when you can look a little washed out, so be careful of too much gray or beige in winter months when you don’t have the summer glow.” Noted!

Dev Patel as Neal Sampat on Season 2 Episode 7 of HBO’s “The Newsroom.”
Photo: HBO

Hope also added that, on the styling front, “blocky Irish or fishermen sweaters are a classic, but they add bulk as well,” and warned against layering heavy fabrics on top of each other, “but then some of the best looks break all the rules.” We’ll be taking all of that intel to heart as the leaves start to turn.

Dev Patel as Neal Sampat on Season 2 Episode 9 of HBO’s “The Newsroom.”
Photo: HBO

As far as Neal and The Newsroom, there’s no telling from what point in recent history the (recently confirmed) third season will start, but we can’t wait to see what other modestly fabulous academic beanpole togs are on the horizon! ILY, NEAL! LET’S TRADE SWEATERS AND BLOG TOGETHER! xoxoxoxoxo

Additional reporting by Sophia Rai

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